|©1999 Spitfire Records
1. Pictured Within
2. Wait A While
3. Sitting In A Dream
4. Love Is All
5. Via Miami
6. That's Why God Is Singing The Blues
7. Take It Off The Top
8. Wring That Neck
9. Pictures Of Home
1. Concerto For Group And Orchestra - Movement I
2. Concerto For Group And Orchestra - Movement II
3. Concerto For Group And Orchestra - Movement III
4. Ted The Mechanic
5. Watching The Sky
6. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
7. Smoke On The Water
Originally composed and played in 1969, "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" was performed again thirty years later to the day at the exact same venue and recorded for our enjoyment. Deep Purple's concert is broken into three parts on this live double album from these venerable rockers. The first part is the whole of disc one, composed of selections composed by Jon Lord and other Deep Purple members past and present and performed by the band and the orchestra with a wide variety of guest musicians and vocalists. The second part is the three movement "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" that heads disc two. This part is the center of the whole show and is comprised of the band and the orchestra. The third part is the orchestra and the band kicking out versions of Purple classics, ending with what is arguably the most recognizable heavy rock song ever written, "Smoke On The Water". Who would have thought a fire at a Frank Zappa concert would spawn such a well-known tune? I mentioned the song in a Uriah Heep review as being one of the touchstones that set my feet on the path toward a love for progressive metal. It is a real treat to be able to see it performed on this enhanced CD set.
Long before Rage teamed up with the Symphonic Orchestra Prague and put together Lingua Mortis . . . even longer before Metallica tried to be cultured with their S&M release . . . before these and the many others who have gone this route, there was Deep Purple. The thing that separates this amalgam of metal and classical from ventures like S&M is that the "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" is an original composition rather than a reworking of existing songs with some violins and kettle drums. There are examples of reworked songs, yes. "Wring That Neck" is one such, but the vast majority of the material was originally written with an orchestra in mind. The concerto piece has been revamped for this performance is and a great marriage between the stately nature of classical music and the uninhibited dishevelment of blues influenced rock and roll. The big switch from the run of the mill is that in this performance Deep Purple is adding spice to the classical movements rather than the classical being fluffy little interludes in the rock. The norm for the "rock band meets symphony orchestra" project is to keep the symphony in the background using them to add a layer of enhancement to the band's play. Here the band is in the background for the majority of the time. Rounding out the performance are the known and loved Deep Purple tracks concluding with "Smoke On The Water", as though they could end a show as immense as this one with any other song.
The nice extras include the videos on the two discs. When did Jon Lord and Ian Gillan grow so old? [sigh] The band shows its age, yes, but they can still rock the house. This double disc is a must have for any serious fan of Deep Purple, and makes a great addition to collections of "classical meets metal" genre discs.
Review by Matthew Braymiller
Review date: 11/2000